Button and Coin Cell Safety
These tiny batteries, often made up of Silver Oxide or Lithium, pose a significant threat to children under the age of 6. If these fairly common household batteries are ingested, they can begin to do serious damage within two hours, potentially burning the esophagus and exposing it to bacteria in the GI Tract, which could result in massive infection spreading rapidly throughout the body.
With the increasing number of devices using these batteries, poison centers have seen a substantial rise in ingestion cases that have been treated over the past few years. In 2012, The National Capital Poison Center reported receiving 3,435 ingestion cases, with 66% of them occurring in children under the age of 6, with 17 major effects resulting from them, along with 2 fatalities.
Given the severity of physical damage that can be caused by swallowing these batteries, here are a few helpful tips to consider in order to avoid it happening in your household:
- Know which products contain these tiny, harmful batteries – Here are few common devices that use them: Flameless candles, musical greeting cards, key fobs, watches and clocks, flashlights, many toys, calculators, book lights, remote controls, hearing aids, weight scales and digital thermometers, to name a few. (62% of all cases reported are of batteries that have been taken from devices)
- Make sure these items are safely out of reach of small children, and/or their battery compartments are securely closed and unable to open without the use of a tool.
- If the batteries are removed, be sure to dispose of them quickly and properly, not leaving them lying around (30% of cases are of batteries that have been left lying around)
- Even if batteries are in packages, but still accessible to small children, occasionally a child may find a way to remove them, so do not leave batteries in packages lying around either (8% of cases reported are of batteries that are removed from packaging)
- IF ingestion occurs, ACT FAST and get the ingesting person to the hospital as quickly as possible!
- Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline if you have any questions – 1-202-625-3333.